Tag Archives: Opel

2019 Opel Corsa GSi – Irish New Car Review

This week, a family friend but also who I would have considered an inspiration passed away. This was Declan O’Byrne. Declan wrote for the Irish Independent and, more recently, the Roscommon Champion. Declan was a good friend of my father’s throughout school but I remember him as Declan – the motoring journalist. I have fond memories of him pulling up to my house in a brand new press car as I “ooh-ed” and “ah-ed” over his job. I wanted to follow suit so he pointed me in the right direction on how to do so. I don’t think I could have achieved what I have as a motoring journalist without Declan. So here’s to do you Declan, gone but never forgotten. I bid you farewell with a review, that of the 2019 Opel Corsa GSi.

The 2019 Opel Corsa GSi plays the part of being Opel’s hot hatch, until they figure what to do with the OPC name plate. It is apparent from my review of the 2016 Opel Corsa OPC that it was good but far from perfect. The GSi takes what was good about the regular Corsa city hatchback and adds a  bit of spice. It aims to take on the Ford Fiesta ST and the 2019 Volkswagen Polo GTI.From the outside, the Corsa GSi hasn’t changed much at all. It has kept the OPC’s aero body kit and faux-air intake on the bonnet. The optional 18-inch Titan diamond cut alloys (€750) set off the Lava Red (€155) paintwork nicely. The front grill’s “mustache” and wing mirror housing are carbon effect, standard for the GSi. The overall package is unique and reassuring knowing that they haven’t just shrunk the Astra. Out of the Corsa’s close competitors, it definitely looks the best.

Inside, it also remains the same as the OPC. The optional Recaro leather seats (€1,450) are the talking point of this warm hatch. Although they hug you in the tight, country back lane twisties, they weren’t made for comfort. A two hour motorway journey had me thinking twice if they are worth the extra cash over the standard seats. They also add extra inconvenience trying to access the rear seats. You had to slam and tug the whole seat forward before the seat will release and move forward in its rails. And even then, the rear seats aren’t easily accessible.The infotainment system is easy to use. It hooks up to your phone, through Bluetooth, without any hassle. Something Opel can do very well, are easy to use, no nonsense infotainment systems.

The Corsa GSi’s interior is seriously let down by the ergonomics. The infotainment is presented flat on the centre console so you must move your left arm if you want to check the time, see what song is playing, etc. This could be fixed by re-positioning the Navi 4.0 Intellilink 7-inch screen. I didn’t realise the Corsa had one-touch auto windows because you have to hold your finger on the window button for about 2 or 3 seconds before they go up or down automatically.The worst, and most inconvenient part, were the doors. They feel absolutely massive for the size of the car. The whole car measures in at just over 4 metres. I noticed the door size when I was getting in and out of the car in a car park. Even with enough room between me and the next car, I had to squeeze out of the small gap. Otherwise, I may have bumped the door off the car next to me. The climate control could also be revised. I could never get the car the right temperature without the windows fogging up.I can finally sing the 2019 Corsa GSi’s praises out on the open road. It’s reminiscent of my time with the Opel Adam S. The 1.4 petrol’s turbo engine only puts out 150hp and 220Nm but this is all the GSi needs to have fun. The steering’s lightness is weighten up once you leave the city so the 1,200kg car can really let it’s hair down. The gear change is nicely notchy too. Opel have been criticised in the past for this but I feel it works here. You can feel the gears engaging and makes you want to practice your heel-toeing technique.

The OPC’s major setback was the value for money, mainly the running costs. It cost €750 per year to tax and got 10.5l/100km. The GSi is more reasonable. The warm hatch puts out 147g/km of CO2 meaning it’s €390 to tax. Based off the couple of motorway runs and mainly backroad spirited driving I was doing, I averaged 8.3l/100km over 681km. With extras the GSi costs €29,465 with the base price being €24,895. This optioned up price puts it €3,000 less than the OPC was and, I believe, you get a lot more for your money.The 2019 Opel Corsa GSi certainly ticks the right boxes. It’s 150hp is usable on Irish roads, it looks much better than the Volkswagen Polo GTI and all for an, arguably, reasonable price. If you can overlook the interior’s niggles then the Corsa GSi is the perfect city car-cum-backroad hooner for you.

2018 Opel Grandland X – New Car Review

Recently, I wrote an article. When I say article, it was more like a rant. Said rant is about popularisation of SUVs. In particular, fast or “Super” SUVs. From it, you can tell that I’m not a fan of the SUV craze but I have no shame in admitting that there are a few good ones on the market. Take the Skoda Kodiaq for example. For its price, the space, comfort and equipment you get is hard to beat. Except, for 2018 Irish motor journalists chose the Peugeot 3008 over it. This leads me to the 2018 Opel Grandland X. Now being owned by PSA (owners of Citroen and Peugeot), the Grandland X is technically a re-bodied Peugeot 3008. But, why should, or shouldn’t, you choose it over its French brother?Up front, the Opel Grandland X shares the Opel face. Centred on the black grill is the Opel logo with chrome trim flowing out into the LED Adaptive Lighting, a €1,250 option. Mimicking this on the lower grill houses more chrome trim bits and a black sensor ready for Adaptive Cruise Control. In this two-tone Dark Ruby Red with Black roof, the Grandland X looks closely related to its French Cousin, the 2018 Peugeot 3008.

What About Inside the Opel Grandland X?

Inside, the SUV is well thought out and not overly complicated. The 8-inch screen housing the infotainment system sits centre stage. Under the screen, the system is old school because it still uses buttons and knobs to control it. I’m very used to having to search within modern infotainment systems to find the Bluetooth settings in order to pair my phone. This wasn’t the case for the Opel Grandland X. Once you turn on Bluetooth on my phone, I was able to connect to the system straight away. This took some time to getting used to.The Grandland and I spent a lot of motorway kilometres together. The cabin was impressively quiet, on par with the 2018 Mazda CX-5. Although while the CX-5 felt stable and comfortable on the motorway, the Grandland felt a little unsettled. While it won’t win any awards for being the most agile car on sale in Ireland, the 1.2 3-cylinder petrol engine is one to be commended. Even on the motorway runs, I averaged 6.9l/100km. At this, the engine didn’t feel insufficient power-wise. The 130hp and 230Nm could overtake with ease. While you might see a better return on your fuel economy in a diesel for motorway dominant journeys, you wouldn’t see much benefit between city runs and motorway jaunts in the diesel. The 1.2 petrol gives you the best of both worlds.

Space?

Plenty of space is on offer up front for the driver and passenger and this is transferred to the rear also. I’m just over 6-foot and had ample head and leg room in the rear. In the boot, 514l is on offer. Collapsing the rear seats jumps this up to 1,652l. This is compared to 521l in the Skoda Karoq and 520l in the Peugeot 3008.On the most basic trim level, the Opel Grandland X SC comes standard with a 7-inch IntelliLink touch screen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 17-inch alloys and rear parking sensors. With prices starting from €27,995, it is €1,400 more than the Peugeot 3008 and €280 more than the Skoda Karoq.While the 2018 Opel Grandland X might be a Peugeot 3008 not too far beneath the skin, it’s still one to consider when looking at buying in this segment. The standard kit on the SC trim is enough to attract you to your local Opel dealership alone. The 1.2 petrol engine is a cracker for the size of the Opel Grandland X. Admittedly, I thought it was going to struggle on the motorway but I was pleasantly surprised.

2018 Opel Insignia Sports Tourer Review

Estate cars are, or used to be until SUVs became the norm, an Irish love affair. My father still longs for an estate whenever he is in the market for a new car. Sure, we all love a fast estate too right? Well, let me introduce you to the 2018 Opel Insignia Sports Tourer. Although it’s far from fast, it’s handsome, practical and affordable. Should you make it a priority buy for 2018?

Opel Insignia Sports Tourer Ireland

Ugly Saloon but Pretty Estate? 

I drove the 2018 Opel Insignia Grand Sport last year. I thought Opel had done a good job but I was still unsure of the styling, mainly the front overhang. This is sorted out in the estate version though with the rear end being much fuller, naturally. The car still has sleek, sweeping lines given its estate boxiness. The rear doors are long and extended, this translates to great legroom in the rear for passengers. The face is in line with the rest of Opel’s 17-long car family. The wide grille sits comfortably between the optional Intellilux LED Matrix headlights.

Opel Insignia Sports Tourer Ireland

Is It BIG Enough?

Inside, I’m immediately cocooned by the low seating position and the raised centre console. The leather seats are comfortable and supportive. Although I didn’t do any long journeys, I could tell that the seats would be a pleasant place to spend some miles. However, the road noise might be a problem. The space to the rear is very good, not on par with the Skoda Superb but it would be a close second. The infotainment up front is typical Opel but this is no bad thing. Standard across the range is Opel OnStar. This safety feature-cum-concierge service allows you to call Opel’s call centre if you are experiencing problems with the car or if you simply need to find the closest petrol station.

Opel Insignia Sports Tourer Interior

An estate is all about practicality, especially when it comes to the boot. The Insignia Sports Tourer has 560 litres on tap which can be extended to 1,665l with the rear seats collapsed. Compare this to the Skoda Superb Combi and it will give you 100l more for the former and almost 300l more for the latter. Up front, the centre console has two spacious cup holders, a choice between a centre console cubby and a large glove box for your phone and not to mention decent sized door bins.

No More Dreadful Notchy Gearshifts

As for the drive, I was pleasantly surprised. I had gone from driving the 2018 Opel Crossland X the week prior to the Insignia and couldn’t get over that the two cars came from the same company. The Crossland’s notchy and characterless gearshift was replaced with a smooth 6-speed manual mated to the 1.5 petrol in the Insignia estate. The new petrol unit produces the same 140hp as the old 1.4 unit but has upped the torque to 250Nm. Having a petrol in this size car was very refreshing and I didn’t notice the lack of a diesel.

Opel Insignia Sports Tourer Boot

I mainly spent the week doing suburban and urban driving. The large size of the car didn’t put me off driving in the city. In the test car, there were safety features such as front and rear parking sensors and pedestrian recognition. This helped while negotiating the tight Dublin streets.

€9,000 Worth of Options…

The test car I had was priced at €39,585 including more than €9,000 worth of options, quite excessive. The 2018 Opel Insignia range starts at €27,350 for the Grand Sport and €28,550 for the Sports Tourer. Would I have the Insignia over the Skoda Superb? For the refreshing interior over the Superb, yes. The Skoda uses a lot of Volkswagen parts so it doesn’t feel as special or as unique. But if it’s all about space, then the extra 100l shouldn’t be overlooked.

Opel Insignia Sports Tourer Ireland

Would I Buy One?

Overall, the 2018 Insignia is a very good attempt for Opel. They are moving in the right direction, especially shying away from the diesel. Only time will tell for what the PSA buy over will have in store for the German brand. But, I would put the Insignia Sports Tourer high up on my list of cars to consider for 2018.

Opel Insignia Sports Tourer sunroof

Opel Crossland X front

2018 Opel Crossland X Review – New Car Review

The 2018 Opel Crossland X sits in a segment which, in my opinion, is pointless. The B-Segment SUV segment consists of cars such as the 2018 SEAT Arona and 2018 KIA Stonic. What the Crossland X has in common with these two competitors is that, in Ireland, the older sibling of each is so closely related that it seems as if they are just excuses for each brand to release yet another car.

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The Opel Crossland X

When I got handed the keys of the 2018 Crossland X, I was told that it was not, essentially, as high class as the 2018 Insignia Grand Sport is believed to be. I was thankful of this information because it set the bar lower for me as I started my week with it. Despite the SUV set at being for the “more affordable” market, the one I had in SE trim was priced at €28,320. This is quite steep considering that the target market for this car is for current owners of the Corsa, which is priced from €15,750. The Crossland X starts from €21,995.

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An Out-LANDish Exterior

Up front, the Opel Crossland X looks like a skinnier, more obscure Mokka X. I particularly like the Mokka because it looks compact yet is practical on the inside. As you move down the along the 4.2m long compact Crossland, you are exposed to the bland styling to the rear. It’s 2D-like bum is not very imaginative. I know there is only so much you can do to an SUV nowadays due to safety regulations, etc. so this only backs up my point of this car in the first place, why?

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Will It Go Cross-Land?

Immediately as I sat inside the Crossland X and turned the key, one adjective came to mind; agricultural. The hard plastics that construct the interior play no part in the quality that Opel is capable of. Turn the key and Opel’s 1.6CDTi diesel unit that was once described as whisper quiet (it really isn’t…), rattles into life. In this particular car, the 99hp and 254Nm unit is coupled with a 5-speed manual with, what must be, the world’s longest throw. Selecting first, third and fifth gear is like reaching into the engine bay.

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But the whole package comes together to provide a smooth and comfortable ride. The 17-inch wheels give a little road noise on the motorway but nothing that the Crossland’s competitors can sort out. When I say that this class is pointless, isn’t fair. I know who would buy a B-segment SUV – our elders. The high seating position and ease of access to both the cabin and 410l boot makes sense for people who are tired of clambering down into their Opel Corsa. I also commend Opel on the fact the Opel OnStar comes as standard across the range – that being all two trim levels (SC and SE). The infotainment is typically Opel, its the 7-inch touch screen IntelliLink 4.0. The system is easy to use and my phone paired quickly for the first time to it. Although, the hard plastics provided a lot of rattle when listening to music at volume or with bass.

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Would I Buy One?

I stand by what I say when the 2018 Opel Crossland X feels agricultural. For €28,320, the Crossland doesn’t seem worth it. It feels like an excuse of a car. As if Opel was obliged to keep up with trends and felt the need to bring out yet another model to its already 17 car long line-up. Why not invest more money into improving the Mokka rather than just giving it a new face and adding an X to its name. Besides, the Mokka X is only a €500 jump up from the Crossland. My conclusion? Save yourself the money and invest in a Mokka X.